Out of all the things the spirited city of Pokhara has in store, World Peace Pagoda is definitely a must-visit sight. After taking in a breath of Phewa lake and the wonders of the city, going for a short and easy hike to this pagoda is ideal if your time here is limited to one day. It resides on top of a hill and overlooks the serene city of Pokhara aligned with the massive Phewa lake and surrounded by chains of hills and mountains.
In 1947, Nichidatsu Fujii, a Japanese Buddhist monk, decided to construct peace pagodas around the world as a beacon of peace. Fujii went on a hunger strike for peace during the cold war when the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by an atom bomb. The devastating war took the lives of 150,000 innocent people. He felt the need to take on the responsibility of bringing back peace in the way his religion had taught him to. His strike escalated to a goal of building 72 World Peace Stupas around the world, two of which are situated in Lumbini and Pokhara of Nepal.
The Pagodas symbolize a prayer for peace in the city, the country, and the world. In 1973, the World Peace Pagoda, also known as Shanti Stupa was constructed in Pokhara. The unstable Nepali politics at the time brought many disruptions in its build. In July of 1974, the stupa was destroyed and many workers indulged in the construction were arrested. It was finally rebuilt in 1992, and in October of 1999, former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala inaugurated the stupa. It has been open to the public from there.
It is hard to miss this stupa from the corner of your eye if you happen to be in the city. It sits on the top of Anada hill of Pumdi Bhumdi village. It is only 7 kilometers away from the city at an elevation of 2100m above sea level. The stupa has a two-story level where one can take a stroll and circle it. The slippery white and shiny gold beautifully reflects the sun's rays, and the ambiance of the space is perfectly described as ‘peaceful’. The stupa itself is 115 ft tall and on its sides, the statues of Lord Buddha are placed. All the statues are gifts from different Buddhist countries around Asia, with their own unique features. Colorful player flags complement the white stupa as you circle around it and witness the panoramic view.
It is located only 1 hour walk away from the city. You can either choose to hike all the way up or drive halfway up the hill until the road lets you. Boating across the lake and then taking another hiking route is again a fun way to the World Peace Stupa.